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First half of NBA schedule released, Sixers start season December 23

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Buckle up, we’re gearing for takeoff

Philadelphia 76ers v Indiana Pacers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

In true disjointed 2020 fashion, the NBA released the first half of the league schedule on Friday, encompassing the games from the December 22 start date through March 4. As had been rumored, the Philadelphia 76ers will begin the Daryl Morey-Doc Rivers era by facing the Washington Wizards at home on December 23, a matchup made all the more delicious by the recent Russell Westbrook-John Wall trade. More than two chances per season for the Joel Embiid-Russell Westbrook feud to reignite? Sign me up and don’t even bother with an unsubscribe option.

Here’s the rest of the schedule for the Sixers’ first 37 games:

It looks like the Sixers will have every chance to maintain the positive vibes from this offseason heading into the beginning of the regular season. Six of the team’s first eight games come against below-.500 lottery teams from a year ago in Washington (2x), Charlotte (2x), New York, and Cleveland. Davis Bertans drowning our optimism with a deluge of 3-pointers should certainly never be ruled out as a possibility, however.

Philadelphia’s long West Coast trip comes on February 9-February 15, with four games against Sacramento, Portland, Phoenix, and Utah. Their only other road trip of more than two games is a three-game jaunt to face Minnesota, Indiana, and Charlotte on January 29-February 3. That seven-of-nine stretch on the road from late-January to mid-February could serve as a bellwether for the Sixers’ season.

With the global pandemic obviously still a factor in sports as well as every other aspect of our lives, the NBA is trying to minimize travel by having teams play “series” against the same opponent in the same location. The Sixers have five such series thus far, the first coming on January 2 and January 4 at home against Charlotte. This year, it won’t just be in your head that seemingly every game is against the Hornets.

Other notes:

  • Philadelphia has six back-to-backs scheduled thus far, the first coming almost right out of the gate December 26 at New York and December 27 at Cleveland.
  • From this portion of the schedule, the Sixers will play nine times nationally on either ESPN or TNT, and an additional five times on NBATV.
  • The Sixers will host Daryl Morey’s old club, Houston, at home on February 17. They do not have a game scheduled in the first half against Doc Rivers’ former team, the Clippers.

Crazy as it seems, we are less than three weeks away from the start of the regular season. 37-0 is still in play!